Whitehorse Daily Star

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Coun. Dan Boyd

City’s updated art policy satisfactory to councillor

Coun. Dan Boyd

By Stephanie Waddell on March 14, 2017

Coun. Dan Boyd is satisfied with the updates to the city’s art policy unanimously adopted Monday night.

“I think it’s clear,” he said of the document in an interview after Monday’s meeting.

For him, he noted, the most salient point comes in the new sections that specify artwork commissioned from one per cent of a new city building’s construction cost can be placed at any site the city owns – any building or property rather than in or at the new building.

“It could go in a park,” Boyd said as an example.

It was Boyd who proposed the review of the policy last September .

He did so after voicing concerns that the policy direction to allocate one per cent of construction cost could mean spending more than $350,000 on public artwork for the proposed new operations building set to be erected off of Range Road in the Two Mile Hill area.

Boyd argued the building is set to essentially serve as a large industrial structure that most of the public won’t be accessing on a regular basis.

Council voted in favour of a “narrow scope” review of the policy.

City staff then met with officials at the Yukon Arts Centre, the territory’s arts branch and a delegate who had addressed council on the issue.

Council and senior management meetings followed in January and February before the updated policy was brought forward last week.

Boyd said he would have liked to have seen a provision for an arts fund included in the update. He also added the overall changes were essentially what he was looking for, so he voted in favour of it.

A more thorough review of the policy in the future could take a closer look at establishing an art fund, he said.

“It addressed the main concerns I had,” he said.

Meanwhile, during council discussion on the policy prior to the vote, Mayor Dan Curtis and councillors Samson Hartland and Jocelyn Curteanu all highlighted the improved clarity in the policy.

Curteanu had been the only member of council in September 2016 to vote against the narrow review. She had argued at the time the city should take the time and proper resources to do a full review of the policy.

Last night, Curteanu acknowledged the improved clarity. She also noted her hope that a more thorough review will soon be conducted that will include input from more members of the arts community.

Curtis recalled initially thinking that the policy was fine as it was. Now that the city has gone through the process, he said Monday, he’s pleased to have an improved document.

“I guess I was wrong,” he conceded.

Hartland added it’s good to now have greater flexibility on the placement of art that’s funded through one per cent of building construction costs.

Under the updated policy, an ad hoc committee would be established to make recommendations to council around potential acquisitions, placement and other matters related to public art.

Comments (6)

Up 0 Down 0

Art Doyle on Mar 20, 2017 at 9:03 pm

I would like to see Mayor and council take a leadership role here and do some body rag roll type art which after they have finished their canvases the public (those who are paying the bills) will be able to name these abstract creations. A veritable win-win if you will.

Up 11 Down 0

Why not let use the City to display their art for free on Mar 15, 2017 at 12:59 pm

Than put a tag on it to contact the artist to purchase their work. This is done in other parts of Canada. The problem with this policy certain artists will sell their work to City Hall and others will not not be able to.
This process will make the art market unfair to some artists.

Up 16 Down 2

Just Say'in on Mar 14, 2017 at 9:36 pm

I do not understand the whole art thing to begin with. These artists are business people, this is the way they make their living. No-one is sending me a cheque when they build a building why is it different for them????

Up 14 Down 0

Just Say'in on Mar 14, 2017 at 9:34 pm

"Hold your horses."The cost of this building is supposed to be offset in part by the sale of several other properties. Should we not wait until this is done to find the true cost of this project? Why not move the art from those places as they will be shut down.

Up 14 Down 2

Joe on Mar 14, 2017 at 5:45 pm

Why didn't they review the need for this policy? There are times when spending foolishly can be defended but when our taxes keep going up and our infrastructure is in need of repair (never mind the need for affordable housing for those in need) why is our city wasting money?

Up 28 Down 8

Bud McGee on Mar 14, 2017 at 4:02 pm

With businesses shuddered, crime and graffiti widespread, city roads crumbling, and parking problems downtown, should the City's art policy be the top priority? There are much more pressing matters than the art policy, and it shouldn't be consuming the agenda of Council meetings. What a joke!

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